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Deseret Book

Deseret Book
Deseret Book logo (2010-present)
Deseret Book secondary logo (2010-present)
Parent company Deseret Management Corporation (LDS Church)
Status Active
Founded 1866
Founder George Q. Cannon
Country of origin United States
Headquarters location Salt Lake City, Utah
Key people Sheri L. Dew, CEO
Publication types Books, art, teaching aids
Nonfiction topics Mormonism
"Values-based" subjects
Imprints Deseret Book
Eagle Gate
Shadow Mountain
Covenant Communications
Number of employees 150 (headquarters)
800–900 (overall) [1]
Official website

Deseret Book ([2]) is the largest Latter-day Saint book publisher and also owns a chain of LDS bookstores in the western United States. Over 150 people work in its Salt Lake City headquarters.

Deseret Book is wholly owned subsidiary of Deseret Management Corporation, the holding company for business firms owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church),[3] Deseret Book is a for-profit corporation registered in Utah. Deseret Book publishes under four imprints with media ranging from LDS doctrine, LDS fiction, electronic resources, and sound recordings such as Mormon Tabernacle Choir albums.


  • History 1
    • George Q. Cannon & Sons 1.1
    • Deseret News Bookstore 1.2
    • Deseret Book 1.3
  • Acquisitions 2
    • Bookcraft 2.1
    • Excel Entertainment Group 2.2
    • Seagull Book and Covenant Communications 2.3
  • Deseret Book imprints 3
  • Shadow Mountain Records 4
  • Other offerings 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9


Deseret Book logo (1980-2010)

The Deseret Book Company was created in 1919 from a merger of the Deseret News Bookstore and the Deseret Sunday School Union Bookstore.[3] Both of these Latter-day Saint General Authority. "Deseret" is a word from the Book of Mormon meaning "honeybee".

George Q. Cannon & Sons

In early 1866 Latter-day Saints. The Sunday School Union gained control of the Juvenile Instructor after Cannon died in 1901.

Some books distributed by Cannon & Sons:

Cannon opened the George Q. Cannon & Sons bookstore in 1867 to sell this and other publications of an uplifting nature. Cannon perceived that novels taken across the plains did not reflect Latter-day Saint values. In the 1880s, Cannon expanded with a branch in Ogden, Utah.

It's not known how many books Cannon & Sons actually published. In this era authors commonly self-published, at least in part, to be distributed by others. However, the Cannon & Sons distributed several important volumes through bookstores and mail order (see table).

The company had extensive ties to the LDS Church-owned newspaper, the LDS Church effective October 1, 1900, near the end of his life. The church grouped management of the two businesses, and the remaining Salt Lake City bookstore became the Deseret News Bookstore.

Deseret News Bookstore

Notable books distributed by the Deseret News Bookstore:

By 1906 Deseret News press had a Linotype machine and dedicated book press. Many significant volumes were published and distributed through the Deseret News Bookstore.

Of these, the most successful was James E. Talmage's Jesus the Christ. Published in September, 1915, the initial 5000 print run was quickly consumed. The First Presidency authorized the bookstore to produce many more copies for use in Sunday School. Seeking out a higher-capacity press in New York City, Talmage is said to have made revisions for the second edition while on the train. Overseeing second edition in January 1916, Talmage began making revisions for the third edition by February 5. The book went through innumerable printings, and was quickly translated into several languages.

Meanwhile, the Deseret Sunday School Union, still publishing the money-losing Juvenile Instructor struggled to maintain its distribution center, the Deseret Sunday School Union Bookstore. Aimed at church supply, the Sunday School Bookstore sold textbooks, minutes ledgers, sacrament trays, as well as popular books. Since 1891 the non-profit Union asked for yearly five-cent contributions from Sunday school pupils on "Nickel Sunday." Facing over $12,000 in debt in 1914, requested donations increased to ten cents, and 1919 a committee formed to study the organizations solvency. Led by Talmage, the committee recommended consolidation of the Sunday School Bookstore with the Deseret News Bookstore.

Deseret Book

Notable books distributed and/or published by Deseret Book:

By 1920, both antecedent bookstores were closed and a single new Deseret Book Company building was constructed in downtown Salt Lake City at site of the former ZCMI Center Mall. Ownership of Deseret Book was split between the Deseret News (70%) and the Deseret Sunday School Union (30%). However, the Union would manage the bookstore until 1932 when Deseret Book was incorporated for-profit as the "Utah Company". The Deseret News bought out the Sunday School Union in 1948 to become sole owner of the bookstore, but both the Deseret News and Deseret Book are now subsidiaries of the Deseret Management Corporation, which manages several for-profit assets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Deseret News Press printed nearly all Deseret Book publications until the 1960s when the company began seeking other competitive bids.

Through the 1930s, the bookstore focused mostly on Sunday school needs such as lesson manuals. Though the bookstore introduced relatively few new authors, several important works were published in this period. Notably, B. H. Roberts' magnum opus, the six-volume Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1930. Deseret Book did not accept manuscripts for publication until the 1940s when the company made a push for new authors.

Deseret Book expanded into motion picture equipment and photographic supplies in the 1940s. Winning an exclusive contract to distribute for Bell & Howell in Utah and parts of Idaho and Wyoming, Deseret Book supplied 16 mm film projectors to the LDS Church. Becoming a film distribution and rental outfit, the Deseret Book "Censorship Committee on Films" was established in 1946 because regular employees were unable to review all the films it handled. By 1950, 18 members sat on the committee.

Preceding modern LDS cinema by over 50 years, Deseret Book founded Deseret Film Productions in 1947. The first film, produced by Frank Wise, was Where the Saints have Trod, an 80 minute film celebrating the 100 year anniversary of Mormon pioneers entering Salt Lake Valley. Wise subsequently produced Temple Square, a 30-minute filmed tour of Salt Lake City's most popular tourist draw. Deseret Film recorded over 120 LDS General Conference talks over a six-year period. Intended for rental to wards, the conference talks are the first motion pictures of LDS Conferences.

In the 1950s, BYU established a motion picture department which attracted Frank Wise. Deseret Film Productions was gradually disbanded. Soon, KSL-TV began covering General Conferences.

Deseret Book's downtown location remained the only store until 1959 when site for an Ogden, Utah branch was donated. Stores in Orange, California and greater Salt Lake County opened in malls in 1962. In the 1970s, the original location was torn down to make way for the ZCMI Center Mall where the store reopened on April 2, 1976 during a General Conference to large late crowds. Several more mall locations opened in the 1970s; in Northridge, California, Boise, Idaho, and many more locations in Utah. In 1997 Deseret Book opened its first Washington state location in the city of Bellevue. By 2004, Deseret Book operated over 33 stores in 9 western US states. Expanding its reach in eastern Idaho, the chain also purchased Beehive Book Stores, located in Rexburg, Idaho Falls, and Blackfoot, Idaho. Deseret Book already operated in Idaho Falls at the Grand Teton Mall and in Rexburg. The new store in Rexburg has expanded merchandise selection from the prior two stores.

Deseret Book headquarters (2010)

In the late 1970s, Deseret Book coordinated publication of new editions of the King James Version of the Bible and the Book of Mormon/Doctrine and Covenants/Pearl of Great Price "Triple combination". The 1979 publication of the Bible was the first geared toward Latter-day Saints. A comparably styled "triple combination" was introduced in 1981. With notes from the Joseph Smith Translation, James E. Talmage's scripture commentary, and an index and "topical guide," the new editions are now standard in the LDS Church. Typesetting for the volumes was done by Cambridge University Press.

Deseret Book began publishing LDS fiction for the first time in 1979. In 1986 it purchased Mormon Handicraft—a handmade crafts store—from the Relief Society. As inventory and distribution was centralized in 1984, Deseret Book expanded its lines to include items such as CTR rings and more popular music.

In 2002 Sheri L. Dew became the first female CEO and president of Deseret Book.[4]

Deseret Book established new corporate offices and downtown Salt Lake City retail space during the redevelopment of the Crossroads Plaza Mall into the City Creek Center. In 2007, the corporate headquarters, with around 160 employees, moved into the top seven floors of the Utah Woolen Mills Clothiers building across the street from Temple Square.[5] In April 2010 Deseret Book opened its "Flagship" store in the City Creek Center. This new store sits almost exactly on the same location as the first Deseret Book Location.



In early 1999, Bookcraft was acquired by Deseret Book. This allowed them to expand in the larger "values-oriented" publishing market. The merger also brought more writings by general authorities under the church's ownership, allowing for electronic and print collaborations with other Deseret Management Corporation entities (the Deseret News, and Bonneville International) and church entities (such as Brigham Young University, the Church Educational System).[6]

Excel Entertainment Group

On November 15, 2004, Deseret Book announced that it had acquired Excel Entertainment Group, a 10-year-old company particularly known for its LDS cinema productions and record labels (Highway Records, Embryo Records, Joyspring Records). Jeff Simpson, the founder and president of Excel, became the merged company's new executive vice president. Both companies are privately held, so terms of the deal were not publicly released. However, Deseret Book management assures that it will take a hands-off approach to managing Excel. Although some Excel employees were relocated to Shadow Mountain music at Deseret Book headquarters, most remained at the separate Excel headquarters in Salt Lake City. Shortly after the merger between the two record labels, many of the recording artists on the new Shadow Mountain label were dropped from their contract.[7]

Seagull Book and Covenant Communications

Seagull Book logo
Covenant Communications logo

In July 2006, Deseret Book threatened to discontinue sales with another LDS bookstore chain, Seagull Book & Tape, citing marketing differences.[8] Seagull claimed that their discounted prices on Deseret Book's products was the reason for the threat.[8] Seagull Book & Tape competed with Deseret Book's retail operation, but depended on the company's published work, which reportedly accounted for most of its sales. After some time, Deseret Book instead opted to renegotiate its distribution contract with Seagull.[9] On December 28, 2006, it was announced that Deseret Book was buying both Seagull Book & Tape and the publisher Covenant Communications, from Lewis Kofford. Company officials said they intended to continue running all three businesses as separate entities.[10]

Deseret Book imprints

After Deseret Book acquired Bookcraft in 1999, it divided its publishing into four differently marketed imprints: Deseret Book for history and doctrine; Bookcraft for self-help, family, children, women's interests, and LDS fiction;[11] Eagle Gate for art, niche markets, library editions, and teaching aides; and Shadow Mountain for "values-based" publications for a national audience. A decade later, the only imprints that remained in use were Deseret Book and Shadow Mountain.[12] In 2012 the Ensign Peak imprint was created for LDS religious writings for a national audience.[13][14]

After acquiring Covenant Communications in 2006, Deseret Book Company did not make it an additional imprint, but continued its independent operations as a publisher alongside Deseret Book Publishing.[12]

Shadow Mountain Records

The Shadow Mountain Records label primarily emphasizes values-based releases,[15] with artists placing in top spots on the Billboard Charts, including Jenny Oaks Baker, a classical violinist,[16] and Billboard #1 artist[17][18][19] Josh Wright, a classical pianist.[20]

Hilary Weeks

Hilary Weeks, a singer and songwriter of faith-based music with seven completed albums,[21] was born in Colorado and raised in Alaska. She is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is married with four daughters. Her solo career was launched in 1996 with "He Hears Me."[22] Weeks has won multiple Pearl Awards.

Other artists

Other offerings

Deseret Book operates further business units in addition to its publishing and retail activities. Under the name Zion's Mercantile it produces home decor and religious art. Events such as women's conferences in the United States and Canada are sponsored by Time Out Events LDS Living Magazine is an LDS lifestyle magazine in print and online. The Deseret Book Direct business unit conducts direct-to-customer marketing through catalogs, e-mail, and the website.[37] From 2000 to 2009 it also operated an auctions website for LDS books.[38] Crafts and other handmade items are sold under the name of Mormon Handicraft (Brand purchased from the LDS Church's Relief Society in 1986) and food is offered through The Lion House Pantry brand. It also provides the texts of many of its books online with paid subscriptions at

In 2009 a few select Deseret Book locations partnered with the LDS Church Distribution Center and began selling official LDS Church items, such as Temple garments, which had originally been available only in LDS Church Distribution Centers.[39] That working relationship has expanded and now half of Deseret Book's 39 stores have been "integrated" and are half Deseret Book and half Distribution Centers.

See also


  1. ^ Leong, Grace (December 28, 2006). "Deseret Book buys Seagull Book & Tape".  
  2. ^ "Book of Mormon Pronunciation Guide" (retrieved 2012-02-25), -ified from «dĕz-a-rĕt´»
  3. ^ a b "About - Deseret Book". Deseret Book. Retrieved July 2, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Deseret Book appoints new president".  
  5. ^ Jenifer K. Nii (November 6, 2006). "Deseret Book makes plans to relocate". Deseret News. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  6. ^ "Deseret Management seeking to acquire Bookcraft".  
  7. ^ Brice Wallace (2004-10-16). "Merger may help Deseret Book 'Excel' with films".  
  8. ^ a b The Associated Press (2006-07-12). "Seagull Book No Longer Allowed to Sell Deseret Book Products".  
  9. ^ KSL TV (2006-07-14). "Talks Continue Between Deseret Book and Seagull Book & Tape".  
  10. ^ KSL News (2006-12-28). "Deseret Book Buys Seagull and Covenant Communications".  
  11. ^ "Deseret Book has made other large acquisitions".  
  12. ^ a b "Deseret News". Deseret Media Companies. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  13. ^ "ENSIGN PEAK Trademark of Deseret Book Company - Registration Number 4483343 - Serial Number 85620027". Justia Trademarks. February 18, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  14. ^ "Deseret Book". Deseret Management Corporation. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  15. ^ Shadow Mountain Records | The Premier Record Label of Deseret Book Company
  16. ^ LDS Living - Jenny Oaks Baker, No.1 Billboard Violinist, Opens for Carrie Underwood
  17. ^ Josh Wright Piano | Biography
  18. ^ Billboard | Classical Charts
  19. ^ 'Josh Wright' hits No. 1 on Billboard's Classical Traditional chart |
  20. ^ Josh Wright: Deseret Book’s latest music release another hit | The Salt Lake Tribune
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Julie Hanks, LCSW | Emotional Health & Relationship Expert | Media Contributor | Songwriter | Speaker
  24. ^ Jenny Oaks Baker | Acclaimed Violinist
  25. ^ Dallyn Vail Bayles | Official Website
  26. ^ Kurt Bestor |
  27. ^ Alex Boye | Life is a gift. Receive it
  28. ^ Paul Cardall | Award Winning Pianist, Film Composer, Author, Lecturer
  29. ^ The site is under construction
  30. ^ Store - Eclipse
  31. ^ "Jericho Road". Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  32. ^ Michael McLean Music - Welcome to, the official website of Michael McLean
  33. ^ Mercy River » Home
  34. ^ The Official Website of David Osmond
  35. ^ Music for LDS Young Women | Music, activity ideas & scripts
  36. ^ Josh Wright – Concert Pianist
  37. ^ "Deseret Book". Deseret Media Companies. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  38. ^ "Deseret Book adds online auction site". March 18, 2000. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  39. ^ Mormon Times (2009-07-16). "Six Deseret Book stores will offer Distribution materials, clothing".  

Further reading

  • Knowles, Eleanor (1991). Deseret Book Company: 125 Years of Inspiration, Information, and Ideas. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book.  

External links

  • GospeLink - Deseret Book's online publication library
  • Deseret Book's profile from its parent company, Deseret Management Corporation
  • Knowles, Eleanor (1992). "Deseret Book Company". Encyclopedia of Mormonism.  
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